BRATTLEBORO -- River Valley Credit Union is going to close down its branch at the Windham Regional Career Center, the credit union announced.
The River Valley Credit Union Board voted to close the branch, and on July 27, the credit union will close the drive-up window on the Brattleboro Union High School Campus.
"We opened the office primarily to provide financial literacy to students," River Valley Credit Union President and CEO Jeff Morse said in a press release statement. "While the office provided a bit of convenience for a small number of members, it has not effectively fulfilled its social mission, and that is the element that the board and management deemed most important."
According to Morse, the credit union board decided to close the branch because student participation was low last year, and the board did not think student participation would increase next year.
Morse said the credit union was investigating the possibility of locating an ATM in the south end of town near the high school.
The staff from the career center branch will be reassigned to other River Valley locations, Morse said.
Windham Regional Career Center Director David Coughlin said that the number of students in the career center's business program has increased four times in the past five years, but changes in the career center's curriculum, and increasing pressures to meet high school graduation requirements, have made it more challenging for the
The program with local banks goes back at least 20 years, though when the high school renovation project was completed, the drive-up window opened.
River Valley Credit Union is the second local bank that tried to open a branch at the career center while offering students a chance to gain real life working experience.
Coughlin said the credit union leased the space from the career center.
He said that students would still be able to work off site at area banks if they want.
He was not sure how the career center would go about filling the space.
Along with offering the students training, the credit union was counting on seeing more business at the drive-up window, though Coughlin admits bank business never really picked up at the career center.
"We knew it has not been working real well for the credit union," Coughlin said. "We know they have to make decisions based on the bottom line, especially in these economic times. They have to make business decisions, and we have to do the same thing sometimes."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer .com, or 802-254-2311 ext. 279.